Truly the Best

By LFVoy

Rating: PG

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Keywords:

This story has been read by 984 people.
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Summary: Humans have five senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. When something can be perceived with all five of those senses, it's definitely the best in its class.


The first time he touched her, he realized she was different.

Between time spent piloting the Horizon, time spent in training, and time spent in Starfleet, Travis Mayweather had encountered many different ship designs of many different configurations. But he'd learned that there were more similarities than differences.

There were three basic directions in piloting: X, Y and Z; heading, elevation and bank. The speed indicator was almost always the most prominent; the engine gauges, to the left; auxiliary functions and a comm unit to the right.

Enterprise was the same way, with a dual-phase speed indicator and a whole bank of engine and auxiliary monitors on either side. Her control surfaces were even built around a standard joystick.

He hadn't expected it. But when he first put his hands on her, he knew. There was something different, something more. He wasn't quite sure how he knew, but he'd rarely been this certain of anything in his life.

He spread his hands and pressed them against the console housing, feeling the vibration transmitted up through his arms. He felt her trembling, barely restrained and fully content at the same time. She was built for speed, and she wanted to go. Under his fingers, Enterprise pulsed, as if she had a heartbeat.

For a wild moment, he almost believed she really did.

In the next moment, he knew he was in love. It had only taken a single moment to become completely enmeshed in her, and he wondered if he'd been bewitched.

In the moment after that, he realized he didn't mind.


The first time he saw her complete, she took his breath away.

Enterprise was beautiful; Jonathan Archer had known that already. But he hadn't been prepared for the way she looked with her hull plating completely intact, her running lights fully operational, her name and markings freshly applied.

He couldn't get enough. He'd forgotten himself so much that he stood up in the orbital pod, hands pressed against the glass, transfixed by the sight before him.

"My God," he'd whispered, not knowing if it was to the pod's pilot or to himself. "Look at her. Look at her."

She filled his entire field of vision, a culmination of technology and development that had somehow transformed into a passionate creature eager to plunge toward the stars. Despite still being several weeks away from launch readiness, Enterprise looked as if she wanted nothing more than to slip free of the bonds of Spacedock and fly.

He'd be aboard her when that happened, of course. He'd be standing on the bridge, and though his father's engine was her heart, he knew that the bridge would be her soul.

It hardly mattered that she wasn't a living being. In that moment, he became totally entranced by her anyway. They were soul mates, destined to be together.

It was as simple as that.


The first time he heard her power up, she captured him.

Trip Tucker had listened to the sounds of warp engines for years. The eight major components each had a unique melody, and when properly combined, their harmony was perfect. He'd long since learned to take note of the tiny dissonances that were early indicators of problems.

But until that moment, when Enterprise's warp engine powered up within the ship for which it was built, he had never heard the music. It stopped him in his tracks.

In that moment, halfway between one stairway and the next, he went entirely still, closed his eyes, and listened to something he'd never heard before. It was pervasive, seeming to emanate from everywhere at once and reach everything at once. It was as subtle and arresting as a siren's song, and it was just as seductive.

He might never have heard this tune before, but he knew it like he knew himself. It resonated within him, perfect, filling him in places he'd never realized were empty.

She completed him.

He rocked forward slightly, pressing his feet harder into the deck, and reached out with his hands. The wish to feel this music in every cell of his body was much more than desire, far more than yearning. It was need. She was necessary, and her presence totally engulfed him.

He'd never been so eager to dive in.


The first time he inhaled her scent, he was completely smitten.

The air circulated many times as Malcolm Reed completed his first security walk-through on Enterprise, and yet in each section of the ship he newly encountered, it was fresh and unsullied. There was no hint of grease or lubricant in engineering, no tang of ozone in the armory, no overlay of human sweat in the recently-loaded cargo holds.

He only smelled cleanliness and purity and the kind of sweetness that came not from perfumes but from being truly upright and respectable. This ship was important. She knew it, too, and she intended her behavior and integrity to match.

It was dramatically arresting to encounter a ship, an inanimate object, so dedicated to honor. Returning to the armory, he drew deep breaths, bringing the atmosphere on Enterprise into his lungs, making the exact oxygen molecules she carried a part of his own bloodstream.

There was nothing but excellence here. She was spotless and pristine, and would not easily surrender that aspect of herself. Even when she became grimy, gritty and damaged — and he had no doubt that it would happen sooner or later — she would never let herself become soiled.

Enterprise was pure, and could purify him of all the pollution he carried after years spent doing things best left in darkness. She was his salvation and would heal him. His redemption would be found within her.

Despite having been aboard for less than a day, it was long past time he accepted that grace.


The first time she tasted her, she knew she was lost.

She'd had second thoughts, and even third thoughts, about coming aboard Enterprise, but Hoshi Sato knew that if she didn't try, she'd always wonder. So she had, but it wasn't until she drew a glass of water in her new quarters that it felt real. Lifting the glass to her lips, she perceived a metallic undertone in this water that had no doubt had already cycled through the ship's pipelines many times.

Yet, despite being metallic, the taste wasn't unpleasant. There was rawness to it, yes, but there was also an undertone she'd previously associated with only the finest wine, the fruit of true merit. It spoke of dreams, of commitment, of determination and dedication.

This taste was all the things she wanted to be and feared she was not. She was mesmerized.

Crossing to her desk, she picked up the sandwich she'd brought from the mess hall and took a tentative bite. It was there too — that faint metallic taste that was yet layered with a quality she would associate with the finest cooking instead of simple ship's fare. She wildly wondered where the ship's chef originated.

She realized it didn't matter. Cooking depended on the quality of the equipment as well as the person who wielded it. Enterprise's equipment, even for something as mundane as cooking, was comprised of the highest quality, possessing all the things she sought in herself.

Nothing except complete immersion would do.


The first time she left Earth under her own power, they knew. They felt. They looked. They listened. They smelled. They tasted. And in that moment, they understood.

She might not have been organic, but Enterprise was fully alive. And truly the best.


Comments:

Linda

I love your description of the awe Enterprise's crew felt when first looking at the ship and feeling her controls and sensing everything about her.  Your writing fills the senses making Enterprise a sensual being...almost with a soul.

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Asso

Historically, people give to things they love some sort of life and the things loved by them seem having have a sort of own life, for them. Maybe, who knows, it's so.
This was a wonderful idea and very well done.
Poetical, I would say.
I too am interested, however, to see what could have felt T'Pol.
Could she have felt a sort of unknown thinking, at the touch of the ship? The Vulcans are touch telepaths, right?
I wonder if she could feel Trip, with that touch, and if she could wonder where it came from the strange sense of satisfaction that she was perceiving.

Alelou

I've read this before and very much enjoyed it the first time, but Transwarp's challenge is certainly intriguing.

I know it would be going into repetition of senses, but I'd also be curious to see T'Pol's and Phlox's take on Enterprise.  As aliens, they might have a very different sense of her.  T'Pol, of course, would be telling herself it was just a machine, but I can't believe she wouldn't feel something walking away for the last time.

Anyway, there is one other sense you can employ -- kinesthesia, the sense of where your body is in relation to everything else.  For T'Pol on an alien vessel, that might be an interesting POV, since the gravity is different and probably some other things we take for granted.  Or maybe that's just too weird and hard to explain to readers.  Just throwing it out there...

 

 

lfvoy

What a nice review and an interesting challenge, but then you had to go and mention TATV...when everyone knows that the series finale was "Terra Prime."  ;)

I'll take you up on it but it might be a while as I have a couple challenges to finish up.  Hope that's okay.

Transwarp

A concise but moving character sketch of Enterprise--not living, yet somehow alive.  You show how she captures the imagination and the love of those who will serve on her, who will depend on her for sustenance and protection from the harsh environs of space, who will live, work and (in some cases) die on her.  Nicely done!

And now, a challenge for you:  Write a companion piece from the perspective of these same people at Enterprise's decommissioning.  (And please ignore the crap that was TATV.  In THESE parts it is NOT considered canon.)

 

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